Posts Tagged ‘Bankrupt’

Currency Wars: Debase, Default, Deny!

Currency Wars: Debase, Default, Deny! 

Hiker pausing at fork in path

Courtesy of Gordon T Long of Tipping Points

In September 2008 the US came to a fork in the road. The Public Policy decision to not seize the banks, to not place them in bankruptcy court with the government acting as the Debtor-in-Possession (DIP), to not split them up by selling off the assets to successful and solvent entities, set the world on the path to global currency wars.

By lowering interest rates and effectively guaranteeing a weak dollar through undisciplined fiscal policy, the US ignited an almost riskless global US$ Carry Trade and triggered an uncontrolled Currency War with the mercantilist, export driven Asian economies. We are now debasing the US dollar with reckless spending and money printing with the policies of Quantitative Easing (QE) and the expectations of QE II. Both are nothing more than effectively defaulting on our obligations to sound money policy and a “strong US$”. Meanwhile with a straight face we deny that this is our intention. 

It’s called debase, default and deny.

Though prior to the 2008 financial crisis our largest banks had become casino like speculators with public money lacking in fiduciary responsibility, our elected officials bailed them out. Our leadership placed America and the world unknowingly (knowingly?) on a preordained destructive path because it was politically expedient and the easiest way out of a difficult predicament. By kicking the can down the road our political leadership, like the banks, avoided their fiduciary responsibility. Similar to a parent wanting to be liked and a friend to their children they avoided the difficult discipline that is required at certain critical moments in life. The discipline to make America swallow a needed pill. The discipline to ask Americans to accept a period of intense adjustment. A period that by now would be starting to show signs of success versus the abyss we now find ourselves staring into.  A future that is now significantly worse and with potentially fatal pain still to come.

Unemployed Americans, the casualties of the financial crisis wrought by the banks, witness the same banks declaring record earnings while these banks refuse to lend. When the banks once more are caught with their fingers in the cookie jar with falsified robo-signing mortgage title fraud, they again look for the compliant parent to look the other way. Meanwhile the US debt levels and spending associated with protecting these failed…
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Kotlikoff: The IMF Says That the US Is Bankrupt, and They’re Right

Kotlikoff: The IMF Says That the US Is Bankrupt, and They’re Right

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

I have not read it yet, but Kotlikoff has a book out called "Jimmy Stewart Is Dead" which was reviewed in April by Craig Heimark at Naked Capitalism.

I have not followed Kotlikoff closely and will attempt to read some of his more serious material in the near future. I did listen to a long discussion on Bloomberg television this afternoon, and he made some real sense to me, although he did not penetrate the miasma of corporate sloganeering that represents the minds of the anchors. They seem to lean to the ‘cut everything that is not a subsidy to or a cashflow owned by the oligarchy’ school of economic reform. And he takes that sort of supply side hoaxing to task, and harshly.

I have to take a closer look at his analysis of Social Security, which is highlighted in this Bloomberg piece (quelle surprise). But his comments on the need for reform in the financial system was point on.

He disagrees with both the supply siders and the demand siders, favoring a systemic overhaul and reform, and so my interest in what he says is obvious.

Bloomberg
U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know

By Laurence Kotlikoff
Aug 10, 2010

Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt. Neither spending more nor taxing less will help the country pay its bills.

What it can and must do is radically simplify its tax, health-care, retirement and financial systems, each of which is a complete mess. But this is the good news. It means they can each be redesigned to achieve their legitimate purposes at much lower cost and, in the process, revitalize the economy.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund released its annual review of U.S. economic policy. Its summary contained these bland words about U.S. fiscal policy: “Directors welcomed the authorities’ commitment to fiscal stabilization, but noted that a larger than budgeted adjustment would be required to stabilize debt-to-GDP.”

But delve deeper, and you will find that the IMF has effectively pronounced the U.S. bankrupt. Section 6 of the July 2010 Selected Issues Paper says: “The U.S. fiscal gap associated with today’s federal fiscal policy is huge for plausible discount rates.” It adds


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Emergency Press Conference on Newark Budget Gap; Massive Service Cuts; No Toilet Paper for City Offices; Newark is Bankrupt

Emergency Press Conference on Newark Budget Gap; Massive Service Cuts; No Toilet Paper for City Offices; Newark is Bankrupt

Courtesy of Mish

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the city council are fighting over ways to balance a $70 million budget hole. Literally everything is under discussion except the one thing that needs to be done: declare bankruptcy.

Please play this video. It is pretty enlightening.

CNN Money reports Newark mayor: No toilet paper for city offices

In a desperate attempt to fill a $70 million budget hole, Newark’s mayor is taking a chainsaw to the town’s budget — even going so far as to cut toilet paper from the 2010 budget.

"Every single contract that does not go to the core function of our city in providing safe streets, providing fire protection, or other things to keep our city afloat will now be cut," Booker said during an emergency press conference Wednesday.

The reductions include not buying toilet paper for city offices, cutting the work week to four days for non-uniformed city workers, which is equivalent to a 20% pay cut, scrapping city holiday decorations, and closing city pools. These extreme measures, most of which will take effect beginning in August, are expected to save the city between $10 million and $15 million.

The city came to this impasse after the city council deferred a vote to create a Municipal Utilities Authority, a key component of Booker’s method of balancing the budget. Because Newark could issue bonds on the Authority, it would have cash inflow to cover the immediate deficit. Without that infusion, the mayor said they can’t make ends meet.

Municipal Utilities Authority Idea is Sheer Madness

I applaud the decision by the council to reject Mayor Booker’s Municipal Utilities Authority.

It is time for cities and states to address issues now, not raise taxes and not float more bonds that cannot and will not be paid back unless sugar daddy Congress steps in with taxpayer sponsored guarantees.

The Blame Game

As you might expect, finger-pointing is now running rampant. Please consider Newark council slams Mayor Booker for ‘savage’ proposed budget cuts.

Donald Payne Jr., Newark’s council president, and four of his colleagues today put up a united front to counter Mayor Cory Booker’s roll out of "savage" budget cuts, accusing him of political gamesmanship for trying to thrust responsibility on the


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Irony: Our Huge Military Is What Made Us an Empire… But Our Huge Military is What Is Bankrupting Us, Thus DESTROYING Our Status as an Empire

Irony: Our Huge Military Is What Made Us an Empire … But Our Huge Military is What Is Bankrupting Us, Thus DESTROYING Our Status as an Empire

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

As I’ve previously pointed out, America’s military-industrial complex is ruining our economy.

And U.S. military and intelligence leaders say that the economic crisis is the biggest national security threat to the United States. See this, this and this.

As RT points out, it is ironic that America’s huge military spending is what made us an empire … but our huge military is what is bankrupting us … thus destroying our status as an empire:

No wonder people from opposite ends of the political spectrum like Barney Frank and Ron Paul are calling for a reduction in military spending.


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32 States Borrow $37.8 Billion Total to Make Unemployment Payments

32 States Borrow $37.8 Billion Total to Make Unemployment Payments; CA Tops List at $6.9 Billion; Bill to Extend Benefits Until DEC in Congress

Courtesy of Mish  

Inquiring minds are reading the Economic Policy Journal for clues on how much states are borrowing to make unemployment insurance claims.

The totals are not pretty. As of May 20, the total balance outstanding by 32 states plus the Virgin Islands is $37.8 billion.

The CINN Group accounts for $14 billion of it.

California $6.9 Billion
Illinois $2.2 Billion
New York $3.2 Billion
New Jersey $1.7 Billion

The worst 4 grouping accounts for $17 billion, nearly 45% of the total.

California $6.9 Billion
Michigan $3.9 Billion
New York $3.2 Billion
Pennsylvania $3.0 Billion

Other Notables

Florida $1.6 billion
Indiana $1.7 billion
North Carolina $2.1 Billion
Ohio $2.3 Billion
Texas $1.0 Billion
Wisconsin $1.4 Billion

I bet the entire amount is forgiven. Any takers?

Note that the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extended to June 2, 2010 is about to run out.

But Wait! More Free Money Cometh

The Public Policy Examiner reports Unemployed must wait for Congress to preserve benefits.

A vote on a new end for unemployment benefits will not come until next week. On Thursday morning, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) proposed amending H.R. 4213 to extend benefits until December 31, 2010.

The amended bill, American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, would extend COBRA health benefits until the end of the year.

Other plans accompany the benefits extension effort. Rep. Bob Filner (Dist. 51) plans to help San .Diegans in economic trouble by passing George Miller’s Local Jobs for America Act. Filner says the city would get 3,263 jobs, with more jobs expected in the other county communities. The bill targets communities with high unemployment.

Rep. Susan Davis (Dist. 53), on Wednesday, was one of three legislators introducing the COBRA Health Benefits Extension Act, H.R. 5324. The unemployed could receive COBRA benefits past the standard 18 months, as long as they needed. At least until Obama’s health exchanges arrive.

Damn, I am sure glad there is a nascent economic recovery. Otherwise, who knows how bad this could get.


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See, The Gun Is Loaded!

See, The Gun Is Loaded!

Courtesy of Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker 

No, no, not the ECB’s.

The "currency speculators" – cough - BANKS that were shorting the hell out of the Euro.

Let’s see if I can figure out what’s happened here.

  1. Banks shorted the Euro, (correctly) surmising that Greece, Portugal, Spain and others can’t possibly cover their debts.
     
  2. The ECB freaks out as the Euro heads toward PAR and calls "emergency meetings" (forgetting, I might add, that the Euro traded under PAR not that long ago.)
     
  3. The ECB and Eurozone decides to "defend" the Euro with €1t in "defensive measures", including buying bonds of bankrupt sovereigns (gee, that’s nice – monetization by another name.)  Since the ECB and EuroZone cognescenti is of course connected to the large banks in Europe (including France, where Sarkozy is located) these banks know to back off on Friday (notice the nice little uptick?) to lock in their bonuses from these insanely-profitable trades against their own currency.
     
  4. The very same banks, including the ones in Sarkozy’s back yard, see the very nice spike and short the Euro even harder, (correctly) surmising that they have successfully stuck the gun up the nose of the ECB!
An armful of gambling chips

Rinse and repeat until you have all the money.

Naw, it wouldn’t be that simple, would it?  Why of course it would.

See, lending someone money when they’re bankrupt can’t possibly make them not-bankrupt.  It can only make them more-bankrupt.  As a consequence the ECB’s action is self-destructive and doomed to fail, and as a consequence there is no reason for these banks to back off at all!  Indeed, quite to the contrary – they have (correctly) deduced that they can make billion in bonuses by shorting their own currency to destruction, forcing ever-larger "interventions" by the ECB!

If you’ve ever seen a meth addict goose himself with his drug of choice to the point where his teeth literally fall out, you know how this story ends. 

The only winning play is to refuse to play at all, and force the bankrupt to recognize their insolvency and reorganize their debts.  That’s it.  Attempting to paper over insolvency never works, and the market has now deduced this, as I expected – although I didn’t think it would happen quite this quickly.

"All in" by the ECB drew not a "ok, ok your pot!"…
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Wealthy Unload Munis; Junk, Corporates, Equities, All Overpriced; Take Some Chips Off The Table

Wealthy Unload Munis; Junk, Corporates, Equities, All Overpriced; Take Some Chips Off The Table

Exterior of Warehouse with Traffic Cones

Courtesy of Mish

Inquiring minds are reading Rich Stunned by Recession Sell Munis for First Time by Bloomberg columnist Joe Mysak.

For the first time in decades, the rich showed no confidence in state and local governments during a recession.

This astonishing tale is told in the new edition of the Internal Revenue Service’s Statistics of Income Bulletin, which shows that in 2008, the latest year for which preliminary data is available, the richest taxpayers collected $7 billion less in tax-free interest than they did in 2007, an unprecedented drop of 15 percent.

The IRS had no explanation for the drop. A spokesman said there was no technical reason behind the decline, such as a change in tax treatment. So all we have are the numbers to tell the story.

Municipal bonds, as an asset class, were screaming “buy me” in 2008. There should have been an increase in tax-exempt interest earned.

Some investors did buy — just not those at the very top. The total number of individuals reporting tax-exempt interest grew in 2008, to 6.4 million from 6.29 million the year before.

How do we explain that drop in the amount of tax-exempt interest reported? It’s most likely a combination of reasons, all, again, inspired by fear: Some investors sold munis and bought CDs and Treasuries, and some shifted to shorter tax- exempt maturities, which pay less.

I can’t wait until next March, when the next installment of The Rich and Their Municipal Bonds comes out.

Take Some Chips Off The Table

I do not like Munis here. For starters, I think there will be a number of counties in Florida that go bankrupt. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (the state capitol) is likely to go bankrupt as is Detroit, Michigan.

Yes, everyone is aware of those.

However, when liquidity is flowing everywhere, as it has been since March 2009, nothing seems to matter. Indeed, it is easy to be complacent because nothing matters. The correct way of thinking about this is: nothing matters "now".

Add in a few cities going bankrupt in California, and in a liquidity crisis I can practically guarantee it will matter. Although there may be some good bets out there, munis seem to be richly priced which means there are better opportunities ahead.

Liquidity…
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Escalating Pension Crisis Will Bankrupt San Diego

Escalating Pension Crisis Will Bankrupt San Diego

Courtesy of Mish

Telescope at a lookout point, San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, San Diego, California, USA

The pension crisis is affecting budgets in city after city and in ever increasing amounts. Please consider the latest in San Diego: Millions needed for city pensions.

Just when San Diego city officials thought they had closed a $179 million budget gap, another has opened up because more money will be needed to pay for employee pensions.

The city will have to contribute $231.7 million to the retirement fund in the fiscal year that starts in July. That’s up $19 million from the forecast used when the last budget gap was closed in December.

The increase is a result of the fund’s investment losses and more employees signing up for pension benefits because of fears they will be cut.

The higher payment most likely will be funded by cutting more services in the next few months, as opposed to the 18-month balanced budget promised when a deal was reached to reduce library hours, lay off 200 workers and end public-safety programs such as horse-mounted patrols.

“This cutting and reducing is going to go on until somebody takes seriously the solutions for solving the city’s pension mess,” Councilwoman Donna Frye said yesterday.

A new report from the city’s pension system indicates that the city has 66.5 percent of the money it needs to cover promised pensions — the lowest level since 2004. The amount the city lacks to meet its long-term pension liability is $2.1 billion as of June 30, up from $1.3 billion in June 2008.

Frye said she sees a trend of pension obligations gobbling up more of the city’s general fund, which pays for fire, police, parks, libraries and recreation centers. Unless labor unions and the city come together to find solutions, “I believe the city will someday go into bankruptcy,” she said.

Mayor Jerry Sanders has resisted any such suggestion.

San Diego Already Bankrupt

San Diego is already bankrupt, they just don’t know it yet. There is no way it can fund its pension liabilities.

I commend Councilwoman Donna Frye. She should run for mayor.

Tax hikes and fees are not the answer. The core issue is unsustainable pension benefits. The system is broke. Toying around with little cuts here and there will not help. And as bad as…
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Greece: The California of Europe

Cute map.

Greece: The California of Europe

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

The Euro is hitting 6 month lows this morning as the Greece sovereign debt story goes from bad to worse.  Greece is trying to roll some debt this morning and there are few takers according to multiple media reports.  Some links below my highly-researched infographic…

Greece Funding Crisis Now Official (Zero Hedge)

Euro, Government Bond Market Under Pressure (WSJ Market Beat)

Spreading…(FT Alphaville)

 


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Virginia Borrows $1.26 billion To Pay Unemployment Benefits; Detroit Loses $400 Million on $800 Million of Bonds; Detroit’s Easy Solution

Virginia Borrows $1.26 billion To Pay Unemployment Benefits; Detroit Loses $400 Million on $800 Million of Bonds; Detroit’s Easy Solution

Courtesy of Mish

French mime artist Marcel Marceau's items auctioned at Drouot in Paris

Virginia is robbing Peter to pay Paul because it is plain flat out broke. Bankrupt is probably a better word. To pay unemployment benefits, Virginia will borrow $1.26 billion and pay it back plus interest by jacking up unemployment taxes.

Please consider Va. to borrow $1.26 billion for depleted unemployment funds.

As Virginia wrestles with ways to replenish its depleted fund for unemployment benefits, Hampton Roads employers expressed concern about the impact that higher unemployment taxes could have on the health of their businesses.

The sorts of tax increases described by the Virginia Employment Commission earlier this fall may be difficult for some small businesses to absorb without job cuts, said Jim Shirley, owner of Bennett’s Creek Farm Market in Suffolk.

The state’s average unemployment tax per employee will jump from $95 this year to $171 in 2010 and to $263 by 2012, the VEC said in a Sept. 29 presentation to the Commission on Unemployment Compensation.

For small retailers, the financial pressure from weak sales and higher unemployment taxes could be intense, Miller said. "You’ve got to have someone in the store, and if you’re down to one person in the store, you can’t cut any more."

In addition to boosting unemployment taxes on employers, Virginia will have to borrow more than $1.26 billion from the federal government in coming years to continue paying jobless benefits, the VEC said in its forecast.

That’s because the deficit in its unemployment-benefits fund will hit $194 million by the end of this year and balloon to $561 million by the end of 2010, the VEC said.

Two dozen states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, New York and Texas, have already borrowed about $21 billion from the federal government to pay jobless benefits, according to the Labor Department.

One problem with borrowing to pay jobless benefits, the VEC noted, is that interest payments on this debt cannot come from the unemployment trust fund or from federal money. The interest payments on its $1.26 billion of projected borrowing are likely to total $36.7 million and come from general state funds, the VEC said in its September report.

Yet Another Reason To Not Hire

Borrowing money while jacking up…
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Zero Hedge

Bitcoin 'Crashes' To 1-Week Lows - The Difference Between Fear And Concern

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Bitcoin dropped over $900 from its record high at $2760 on Thursday in the last 48 hours, but has bounced back to remain up 17% week-over-week.

A 30% drop from Thursday's highs...

But Bitcoin is still up around 140% year-to-date...

While the volatility is unprecedented, ...



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ValueWalk

Pakistan Is The Key To Better Iran And Saudi Arabia Relations

By Polina Tikhonova. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Pakistani Chief of Army Staff is reportedly making an urgent trip to Iran as tensions are rising. After Iran fired five mortar shells into Pakistan last Sunday in response to Islamabad’s participation in a summit led by U.S. President Donald Trump and hosted by Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia, cracks in their decades-long friendship deepened.

Photo by Uzairmaqbool (Pixabay)

Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa is ...



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Phil's Favorites

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth

 

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth (Video)

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

Ben had a hit on Bloomberg TV last night talking about his recent piece on market breadth and why it’s perfectly normal to see the market being led higher by some very big winning stocks. His research shows that this is always the case during bull markets and that broader measures of the internals are healthy, not sick.

Check this out:

…and you can read his expanded thoughts on ...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Is Crashing (Again)

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

While Bitcoin is still up 13% on the week (its 8th weekly ruse of the last 9), the dollar price of the virtual currency is collapsing again in US trading (after a big rebound during the Asian session)...

Just as with yesterday, there is no immediate news catalyst for the flush.

Meanwhile, the huge arb with South Korea bitcoin pricing remains, and as of this moment is still nearly $1000.

Today's drop ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

U.S. stocks scale new peaks on retailer results; oil falls (Reuters)

Two top U.S. equity indexes scaled record peaks on Thursday after strong earnings reports from retailers, outpacing European shares which were little changed, while oil prices plunged after top crude producers extended output cuts for a shorter period than expected.

Hedge Funds Squeezed by World's Highest Rents Are Moving Out (Bloomberg)

Benjamin Fuchs raised eyebrows five years ago when he opened his hedge fund next to a place selling live chickens in Hong Kong’s hustling, bustl...



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Chart School

S&P Breakout on Higher Volume Accumulation

Courtesy of Declan.

While I expected the Dow Jones to be the breakout flyer, instead it was the S&P which led the charge on higher volume accumulation.  Technicals are all in the green with a return of the MACD trigger 'buy'.



The Dow did manage to break past 21,000 with a MACD trigger 'buy' but it's still contained by all-time high resistance at 21,200. The index is still well positioned for a larger breakout, but this is the sixth day of consecutive gains for the index so some pullback can be expe...

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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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